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Maryland sees lowest-ever COVID-19 positivity rate, matches low for new cases

Maryland health officials reported its lowest coronavirus positivity rate of the pandemic Tuesday and matched Monday’s low for the fewest number of new daily cases since March 2020.

The state’s second straight day of 212 new coronavirus cases — the lowest since the early weeks of the pandemic — came as 66.6% of Maryland adults had received at least one vaccine dose, according to the state.

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“Each and every one of these milestones is a credit to Marylanders, especially those who have stepped up to get the vaccine,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Tuesday. “Together, we can make sure no arm is left behind, and finally bring this pandemic to an end.”

Here’s where the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 metrics stood Tuesday:

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Cases

Fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported per day since April 28. The state’s two-week average of new daily cases fell to 458 Tuesday, Maryland’s second straight day below 500 for the first time since October.

Before Monday, the last time Maryland had added fewer than 212 new cases to its tally was March 30, 2020, just three weeks after state officials began tracking the pandemic.

Maryland has recorded a total of 456,428 coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic.

Deaths

Fourteen more Marylanders were confirmed Tuesday to have died from COVID-19.

The state’s death rate has been declining slowly. An average of 10 people per day have died over the past two weeks, down from a rate of 16 a day earlier this month. The two-week average reached as high as 44 deaths per day over the winter.

A total of 8,754 people have died from the virus in the state since officials began tracking last March.

Hospitalizations

Seventeen fewer people were hospitalized with the virus in Maryland as of Tuesday than the previous day. Of the 596 patients being treated in hospitals, 165 required intensive care.

It’s the sixth decline in the past seven days. Hospitalizations increased by one on Monday, but fewer than 1,000 people have been hospitalized with the virus since May 2.

Positivity Rate

Maryland officials reported the state’s lowest ever seven-day COVID-19 testing positivity rate Tuesday — 2.23%.

The record came one day after the state matched its previous record low, 2.51%, Monday. The rate, which measures the share of positive COVID-19 tests, previously bottomed out Sept. 24.

Testing clinics performed 9,812 new nasal swabs in the past 24 hours.

Vaccinations

The two-thirds of adult Marylanders who have received at least one shot have put Maryland on track to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by the Fourth of July, the state said.

Another 30,563 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, state health officials said Tuesday. That includes 11,055 people who received their first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 18,097 people who received their second. It also includes 1,411 people who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccinations by Age

About 83.3% of Marylanders 65 and older have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to the state health department.

Meanwhile, 69.8% of those between 50 and 64 have received at least one dose, along with 53.9% of those between 18 and 49 and 21.1% of those between 12 and 17 — the youngest cohort eligible for vaccination.

Vaccinations by Race

About 2.6 times more white people in Maryland are fully vaccinated than Black residents, a disparity that has narrowed slowly as vaccines have become more available.

Of the roughly 2.4 million fully vaccinated residents whose race is known, white residents accounted for 59% and Black Marylanders accounted for fewer than 23%. White people make up about 58.5% of the population, and Black people make up about 31.1%.

Hispanic and Latino Marylanders, who make up 10.6% of the state population, according to the Census, represent about 6% of fully vaccinated residents whose ethnicity was known by the state.

Vaccinations by County

While less populated counties on the Eastern Shore initially led the state’s vaccination effort per capita, wealthier and more populous counties have caught up.

Howard County has the state’s highest vaccination rate, at 49.7% of residents fully inoculated as of Tuesday. Talbot County, which led the state for weeks, has the second highest percentage, 49%. Montgomery County, where about 47% of residents are fully vaccinated, has the third highest rate in the state.

Somerset County had the lowest percentage of residents inoculated in the state, nearly 27%, as of Tuesday. The 25,616-person Eastern Shore county, about 41.5% of whose residents are Black, only surpassed a quarter of residents vaccinated in the last week.

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